, news editor, Adventist Review
An ADRA emergency response team arrived in Nepal on Tuesday to step up efforts to provide food and shelter to scores of people left destitute by a deadly earthquake last weekend.
The April 25 disaster killed more than 5,000 people and left another 10,000 injured, Nepalese authorities said.
No Seventh-day Adventists were killed, but Umesh Pokharel, president of the Adventist Church in Nepal, reported the first known injury: a young boy from an Adventist family. The boy from a Nepalese village was struck by a stone during the quake and remained in the hospital on Tuesday, Pokharel told the Adventist Review.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency said it has procured 400 tarpaulins and 348 tents from Nepalese vendors and expected 17 pallets containing 1,360 tarpaulins to arrive from Dubai on Wednesday.
The tarps, worth about $21,000, were being airlifted by a United Nations relief group on ADRA’s behalf.
“Temporary shelter is needed for all those — including ADRA staff — living outside because they have lost their homes or are afraid of aftershock risks,” ADRA said in an e-mailed statement.
It said early estimates indicated that 1.4 million people need assistance with food, including 750,000 living in poor-quality housing near the epicenter some 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.
“The earthquake has disrupted preparations for the next planting season, which may affect Nepal’s food security situation in the coming months,” ADRA said. “The monsoon season is just two months away. This will be a race against time to ensure people can plant.”
The local Adventist Church is also engaged in relief efforts. Pokharel, president of the Nepal Section, an attached field of the Adventist Church’s Southern Asia Division, said his office has secured 100 tents, 100 sacks of rice, 100 cartons of chow chow noodles, and drinking water and will spend the next week handing out the aid at two distribution points.
Pokharel is also worried about the well-being of scores of Adventist pastors and other church members who lost their homes, and he appealed to church members worldwide for help on Monday.
On Tuesday, he thanked Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the Adventist world church; Southern Asia Division leaders; and other people for responding immediately.
“Overwhelming concern has been shown by our friends all over the world,” he said.
More help is needed, he said.
ADRA, meanwhile, said it would focus its initial relief efforts on the Dhading district, west of Kathmandu, and later on the eastern Kavre district, where the Adventist-operated Scheer Memorial Hospital is located.
But an assessment team failed to reach the Dhading district to scout out the damage on Monday because of ruined roads. The team ventured out again on Tuesday, this time on motorcycles, and ADRA coordinators were waiting to receive its report.
Among those affected by the destruction in the Dhading district is Dana Dai, the staff driver for ADRA’s Nepal office in Kathmandu. The quake flattened his home in the Dhading district. All his livestock are dead. He lost his grandfather. His extended family is now living outdoors under a plastic sheet together with 15 other families.
But, ADRA said, Dai still shows up for work every day at the ADRA office, saying, “I am the only driver, and if I am not on standby in the office, who will drive our car to go out in the field?”